Predictors of posttraumatic stress symptoms following childbirth

Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following childbirth has gained growing attention in the recent years. Although a number of predictors for PTSD following childbirth have been identified (e.g., history of sexual trauma, emergency caesarean section, low social support), only very few...

Authors: Voßbeck-Elsebusch, Anna Nicola
Freisfeld, Claudia
Ehring, Thomas
Document types:Article
Media types:Text
Publication date:2014
Date of publication on miami:27.11.2014
Modification date:16.04.2019
Edition statement:[Electronic ed.]
Source:BMC Psychiatry 14 (2014) 200, 1-10
Subjects:Posttraumatic stress disorder; Childbirth; Delivery; Cognitive factors
DDC Subject:150: Psychologie
License:CC BY 4.0
Language:English
Notes:Finanziert durch den Open-Access-Publikationsfonds 2014/2015 der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) und der Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität Münster (WWU Münster).
Format:PDF document
ISSN:1471-244X
URN:urn:nbn:de:hbz:6-31339558671
Permalink:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:hbz:6-31339558671
Other Identifiers:DOI: doi:10.1186/1471-244X-14-200
Digital documents:1471-244X-14-200.pdf

Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following childbirth has gained growing attention in the recent years. Although a number of predictors for PTSD following childbirth have been identified (e.g., history of sexual trauma, emergency caesarean section, low social support), only very few studies have tested predictors derived from current theoretical models of the disorder. This study first aimed to replicate the association of PTSD symptoms after childbirth with predictors identified in earlier research. Second, cognitive predictors derived from Ehlers and Clark’s (2000) model of PTSD were examined. Methods: N = 224 women who had recently given birth completed an online survey. In addition to computing single correlations between PTSD symptom severities and variables of interest, in a hierarchical multiple regression analyses posttraumatic stress symptoms were predicted by (1) prenatal variables, (2) birth-related variables, (3) postnatal social support, and (4) cognitive variables. Results: Wellbeing during pregnancy and age were the only prenatal variables contributing significantly to the explanation of PTSD symptoms in the first step of the regression analysis. In the second step, the birth-related variables peritraumatic emotions and wellbeing during childbed significantly increased the explanation of variance. Despite showing significant bivariate correlations, social support entered in the third step did not predict PTSD symptom severities over and above the variables included in the first two steps. However, with the exception of peritraumatic dissociation all cognitive variables emerged as powerful predictors and increased the amount of variance explained from 43% to a total amount of 68%. Conclusions: The findings suggest that the prediction of PTSD following childbirth can be improved by focusing on variables derived from a current theoretical model of the disorder.